Roast Turkey With Cider and Bacon Turkey Gravy

A gravy boat of steaming gravy

Dorling Kindersley/Getty Images

  • Total: 3 hrs 10 mins
  • Prep: 10 mins
  • Cook: 3 hrs
  • Yield: 2 cups (16 servings)

This recipe was inspired by Gordon Ramsay's rich flavored turkey, with a gravy that is made with roasted bacon, onions, and lemons from the chef's recipe for lemon and garlic roast turkey, combined with turkey drippings and hard apple cider.

In an unusual touch, Ramsay adds crushed walnuts to the gravy boat before pouring in the hot gravy. Although the added walnuts are optional, they do add a unique texture and consistency to the gravy.

This recipe, inspired by Ramsay's, will work with a 10-pound turkey—double the ingredients for a larger bird.


  • For the Roasted Onions, Lemon, and Garlic
  • 10-pound turkey
  • Salt and pepper
  • 2 onions (peeled and halved)
  • 1 lemon (halved)
  • 1 head garlic (halved horizontally)
  • 2 bay leaves
  • Drizzle olive oil
  • 8 strips bacon
  • For the Gravy
  • 3 sprigs fresh rosemary
  • 3 fresh tomatoes (chopped)
  • 1 cup hard apple cider
  • 2 cups chicken broth (homemade or packaged but not canned)
  • Optional: 2 tablespoons softened butter mixed with 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • Optional: 1/4 cup walnuts (crushed)

Steps to Make It

Note: while there are multiple steps to this recipe, this gravy dish is broken down into workable categories to help you better plan for preparation and cooking.

Stuff the Turkey

  1. Gather the ingredients.

  2. Heat the oven to 425 F.

  3. Remove the giblets from the turkey cavity. Season the cavity well with salt and pepper, then stuff with the onions, lemon, garlic halves, and bay leaves.

  4. Place the bird in a large roasting tray, breast side up. Season well with salt and pepper, then drizzle with a little olive oil.

  5. Roast the turkey in the hot oven for 10 to 15 minutes. Remove from the oven, baste the bird with the pan juices, and lay the bacon strips over the breast to keep it moist. Baste again.

  6. Lower the heat to 350 F and roast for about 2 1/2 hours (or 15 to 20 minutes per pound), basting occasionally.

  7. When done, remove from the oven and let it rest, loosely covered, on a cutting board that can collect the juices.

Prepare the Gravy

  1. While the roasted turkey is resting, drain the excess fat from the roasting pan and put the pan on the stove-top over medium heat.

  2. Remove the bacon from on top of the turkey and the onion and lemon from the cavity.

  3. Chop everything up coarsely, and transfer to the pan.

  4. Add 2 sprigs fresh rosemary, and sauté 2 minutes. Add the tomatoes and cook 2 minutes more.

  5. Pull off the wings, turkey tail, and any trimmings you would normally throw away, and add these to the pan. Sauté the turkey bits until lightly browned.

  6. Pour in the hard apple cider, and bring to a boil. (You could substitute the hard cider with non-alcoholic apple cider.)

  7. As the cider begins to reduce, pour in the juices that have collected from the resting turkey. Bring to a boil, and let reduce by half, about 10 minutes.

  8. Crush the onions, tomatoes, bacon and turkey pieces with a potato masher.

  9. Pour in the chicken stock, and bring to a boil and reduce by half again, another 10 minutes.

  10. Pour the gravy through a sieve, pushing down on the solids with a wooden spoon. Lower gravy to a simmer and add the remaining sprig of rosemary.

  11. If you would like a thicker gravy, combine the optional butter and flour into a paste, and whisk in bits of it at a time, until the gravy thickens to desired consistency.

  12. Sprinkle the optional crushed walnuts into a gravy boat, pour in the hot gravy, and serve with the turkey.